Business is changing. We hear that a lot. But why does big business struggle so much with innovation? And why do they appear to be burying their head in the sand when it comes to reinventing themselves?\nInnovation has always been a core ingredient of any successful business\u2019s DNA. Without it business will have a finite existence; you only have to read that since 2002 52% of the Fortune 500 is no longer around to realize change is afoot.\nSo why haven\u2019t we learned from the past?\nIt wasn\u2019t too long ago that industrialization came along. Those business relying on animal power now had an opportunity to employ machinery for the heavy lifting. That must have been a pretty big deal. It certainly was for the donkeys.\nNot too long after there was that American chap, Mr Henry Ford, who mastered the moving assembly line and mass production soon swept the world. Roll forward a few more years and our home grown Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web - accelerating the digital connection of billions of people.\nBoth pretty sizable shifts to say the least.\nAnd yet big business now seem somewhat paralyzed by the changing tech landscape.\nIt\u2019s certainly true that technology is evolving faster than ever. What was until recently science fiction \u2013 self-driving cars, neuro-technological brain enhancements and interplanetary colonization \u2013 we\u2019ll either see first-hand or will be experienced by our kids not too many years away.\nAnd this disruptive innovation will of course change the way we live, work and relate to one another, fusing the physical and digital words; impacting global economies and industries like we\u2019ve never seen before.\nBut it\u2019s not impenetrable stuff. In fact, the opposite. It offers huge opportunity for business. But only for businesses willing to understand, adapt and innovate.\nAnd yet we approach this next chapter - the fourth revolution - with a sense of boardroom disconnect.\nIt\u2019s my wholehearted belief that innovation starts and stops in the boardroom. Without absolute buy-in from the board every single cent spent on innovation today will be wasted in the long run.\nInnovation is nothing new. The word innovate stems from the Latin innovatus - the past participle of innovare \u2018to renew, restore\u2019.\nIt has been part of our common language for roughly 457 years\u2026which, after considerable fact checking, I can now confirm is the average age of most Fortune 500 boards.\nAlright, let\u2019s not start down the ageist route. That\u2019s too easy.\nBut it is worth saying we do still live in a world where most boards, especially those of the traditional global brands, are still populated by white, older men who have enjoyed a good run and may well be in line for a full salary pension.\nAnd when including the likes of Zucks (age 33), Larry Page (age 44) and a handful of other \u2018youngsters\u2019 that barely remember the 80s, it\u2019s amazing to discover the average age of a Fortune 500 CEO is still 58.\nSo, why would they want to rock the boat? Sure business is changing but they\u2019ll be stepping back soon and making way for tomorrow\u2019s board to sort it out. Nothing\u2019s going to change overnight, right?\nTo contextualize what I\u2019m about to say, it\u2019s probably worth noting I spend most of my weeks advising boards from around the world on how to innovate better and avoid disruption.\nSadly, with very little exception, I see time and time again the collective disbelief that the changing tech landscape will affect big business anytime soon. For many it\u2019s the dot com bubble all over again. Or, equally as exposing is that for those who do believe something might be afoot, is a level of acceptance that a token nod to innovation, invariably one that is driven by public image, is totally okay.\nJust for the record it\u2019s not okay. Very simply it\u2019s professional negligence.\nAnd whilst I\u2019ve played the age card here, it\u2019s not an age thing. It\u2019s about a set of attitudes and beliefs which you either chose to embrace. Or not.\nIf we want our companies to exist in the future, they must innovate. Executives can no longer focus solely on quarter or year end. They cannot hold out for their bonus. Or worse still, retirement.\nChange needs to start from the top.\nBoards need to be educated; they need to understand the speed of change taking place around them. They need to evolve their mindset. And if they can\u2019t, they either need to have their remuneration needs to be weighted to the long-term success of the company. Or replaced.\nAnd only once this has been done can innovation live, breathe and thrive throughout the company ranks.